By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review is a dark, gritty superhero film with a lorry-load of evil villains. Yep, the fun-loving LEGO Batman Movie.
The screening at the Phoenix Leicester I was in had the kids, and certainly their parents, toe-tappingly excited for the next instalment in the LEGO universe.
My excitement was palpable for this film, and it did not disappoint….
Three years after saving the Lego Universe with Emmet and Wyldstyle, Batman (Will Arnett) continues fighting crime in Gotham City. Whilst on a city-saving mission against his biggest rival Joker (Zach Galifianakis), Batman insults him by saying the smiley villain isn’t as important as he thinks he is to the dark crusader, leading Joker to seek the ultimate revenge on him with every super-villain in history by his side.
The wise-cracking miniature hero (not the chocolates) is back and as bad-ass as ever. Also returning are the hilarious and talented producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller who have a varied back catalogue that’s littered with success. Having a comedic pair at the helm like Lord and Miller (21/22 Jump Street) gives movies like this an extra dimension. If you have kids, go and see this film. If you don’t have kids, go and see this film – there’s something for everyone.
In fairness, whilst struggling to catch my breath after so many zingers, I thought this film could even lend itself more to the parents than the children. There’s a lot of sequences and jokes that would go over kids’ heads and that was pertinent in the screening. Adults would laugh their heads off, whilst a child would say “shhh”.
The writing is snappy, smart and fast-paced. The dialogue for each character is succinct in pivotal scenes whilst the movie also has joke-ridden speeches the next. Will Arnett of course has the best lines, and his voice casting is spot on. He stole the show in the Lego Movie and he takes the crown again here. Michael Cera’s Robin is a close second. The chirpy ‘willingness to do anything’ of Robin makes for amusing sequences with the reluctant Arnett. The support from Ralph Fiennes (Alfred) and Rosario Dawson (Barbara) completes the perfect foursome. Their chemistry is electric and they get the best out of the screenplay. Lest we forget, Galifianakis’ Joker is a great addition to the previous incarnations. He has the creepiness and lunacy down to a ‘T’ – that’s a compliment I promise!
One of the most impressive components to the LEGO Batman Movie is the attention paid to the story development. The humour is rife and certainly a relief to adults everywhere taking their children to the pictures, but there’s also an important narrative beneath it all with extremely complex characters too. Batman is troubled due to extreme loneliness and Barbara, as much as she thinks she is capable, needs Batman to help fight the city’s crime. They clash heads numerous times but when she gives Batman an honest truth, the audience can also learn from it. Barbara comments “you can't be a hero if you only care about yourself". This a simple message that is delivered around bouts of giggles, so it never feels like a lecture.
Overall, what this film sets out to do is thoroughly thought out and executed perfectly. The core message is simple and clear, the narrative is deeper than you first thought, and the characters’ interactions are hilarious to say the least. You can take away the one-liners to scream at everybody but there’s also a little lesson gained… Cinema is great isn’t it?
Cineroom’s Rating: 4 Stars
The LEGO Batman Movie screened at the Phoenix Leicester and will be out later this year on DVD – certificate PG